Iran fires missiles at Syria targeting militants in retaliation over parade shooting

Tehran launches offensive on separatist groups it holds responsible for attack that killed 25 last month

Tom Barnes@thomas_barnes
Monday 01 October 2018 10:03
Iran said the missile launch was made in response to an attack on a military parade, which killed more than 25 people
Iran said the missile launch was made in response to an attack on a military parade, which killed more than 25 people

Iran has launched several ballistic missiles into eastern Syria in retaliation against militants it believes are responsible for a recent attack on its own soil.

The country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced on Monday through state media it had fired six missiles at paramilitary groups stationed close to the Euphrates River.

Military officials said the air strike, the second such missile attack by Iran on Syria in just over a year, had “killed and injured” some militants, without elaborating further.

“Security of the Iranian people is the armed forces' redline and the IRGC spares no efforts in maintaining peace and security,” the IRGC said in a statement.

State TV footage showed missiles launching from the western province of Kermanshah, while a graphic suggested rockets flew over central Iraq before landing near Abu Kamal in southeastern Syria.

One missile shown on screens before the attack bore the slogans “Death to America”, “Death to Israel”, and “Death to Al Saud,” a reference to Saudi Arabia’s ruling family.

“This is the roaring of missiles belonging to the Revolutionary Guard of the Islamic Revolution,” the state TV's reporter said as the missiles launched behind him.

“In a few minutes, the world of arrogance – especially America, the Zionist regime and the Al Saud – will hear the sound of Iran's repeated blows.”

Iranian forces also launched a drone attack shortly after the initial strike, state media reported.

The operation further complicates the question of who carried out the attack on a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz last month, which killed at least 25 people and injured 60 others.

Iran initially blamed Arab separatists for the incident, in which gunmen disguised as soldiers opened fire on the crowd and officials watching the parade from a viewing platform.

An Arab nationalist group immediately claimed responsibility for the shooting, but offered details about the attackers that ultimately proved untrue.

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Isis also claimed responsibility for the assault, although it too made factually incorrect claims about the incident.

Later, the terror group released footage of several men that Iran identified as the attackers, though those in the footage never pledged allegiance to the extremist group.

In announcing the attack, Iranian state media said the missiles targeted both “takfiri” militants - a term it often applies to Isis - and Ahvazi separatists, two groups not known to work together.

The IRGC said based on evidence from the Ahvaz attack, “terrorists” in eastern Syria are supported and guided by the United States.

It claimed the group was acting in line with “satanic” plans of the White House, “the Zionist regime” – Iranian parlance for Israel – and a “regional power”, a likely reference to Saudi Arabia.

The statement added that the Guard would deliver a “crushing response” to acts of “wickedness” by Iran’s enemies.

Monday’s attack marked the third time Tehran has used its ballistic missiles in anger in recent years.

Last year, Iran fired ballistic missiles into Syria over a bloody Isis attack on Tehran targeting parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

In September, Iranian forces fired missiles into Iraq targeting a base of an Iranian Kurdish separatist group, reportedly killing at least 11 people and wounding 50 more.

Additional reporting by AP

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